For most of my first nine years homebrewing I produced wort with the standard “American” process. I mashed in a five gallon cooler fitted with a homemade copper manifold, recirculated by hand, manually fly/batch sparged, and chilled with an immersion chiller. It is a process (detailed here) that is simple, reliable, hands-on, and which makes good beer. My equipment was starting to show its age and I wanted to move to 10 gallon batches anyway, so about a year ago I began researching the alternative methods and options out there.
Article: Minimal Sparge: An Easier Way to Brew
Minimal Sparge: An Easier Way to Brew